Great Performance at the Met: Romeo et Juliette
Monday, April 17, at 7pm on CET Arts
The electrifying team of Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau reunites for a new production of Gounod's opera based on the Shakespeare play. Damrau makes her role debut as Juliette in Bartlett Sher's new production, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Elliot Madore sings Mercutio and Mikhail Petrenko sings Frre Laurent.
The opera premiered in 1867 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. Perhaps the most enduringly successful of the many operatic settings of the world’s consummate love story, Roméo et Juliette is a prime example of French Romanticism, a tradition that values subtlety, sensuality, and graceful vocal delivery over showy effects. In the opera there is a slight shift of focus away from the word games of the original play and a greater focus on the two lovers, who are given four irresistible duets, including a brief final reunion in the tomb scene that does not appear in the play.
Charles Gounod (1818–1893) showed early promise as a musician and achieved commercial success with his opera Faust in 1859. Among his most famous works is a setting of the “Ave Maria” based on a piece by J. S. Bach. Jules Barbier (1825–1901) and Michel Carré (1821–1872) were the leading librettists of their time in France, providing the text for many other operas, including Faust for Gounod, Mignon (also from Goethe) and Hamlet for Ambroise Thomas, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Jacques Offenbach.